(NEW YORK) — A father has been arrested following a more than two-year investigation after police determined he killed his two-month-old infant daughter by stuffing a baby wipe down her throat, police say.
The incident originally occurred on May 28, 2021, when the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Dispatch received a 911 call regarding a two-month-old unresponsive infant in Vero Beach, Florida, according to a statement from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office released on Monday.
Dispatchers immediately began giving the infant’s father, Jason Napier, instructions on how to give CPR to the child and notified police deputies and fire rescue to respond to the scene.
But when authorities arrived at the Vero Beach home and made contact with Napier and his two-month-old baby girl, the child was “unresponsive and turning blue,” according to the police statement.
The responding deputy quickly took over the CPR procedure and the child was rushed to the hospital, but the infant girl did not survive.
“During the preliminary investigation, Mr. Napier told deputies the infant choked and he could only see a small white object in the back of her mouth. He then gave a timeline of events and claimed he left the child unattended, on a couch, with his 18-month-old daughter for approximately 10 minutes,” Indian River County Sheriff’s Office said in their statement. “When he returned to the room he discovered the child was choking and in distress but still waiting approximately 5 minutes before calling 911.”
A baby wipe would later be removed from deep within his infant daughter’s throat and is what caused the airway obstruction that killed her.
During the investigation, detectives determined that Napier spent “approximately 30 minutes on his cell phone making his timeline inaccurate” regarding the events that transpired at his home on May 28, 2021, police said.
“Based on all of the evidence gathered, and in consultation with medical physicians, it was determined that the only person present at the time of the incident that could have placed the wipe that deep in the child’s throat was Joseph Napier,” police said on Monday.
The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of Napier after their two-year investigation on Monday on the charge of manslaughter, police said. He is now being held at the Indian River County Jail on a $750,000 bond.
Said the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office: “While this investigation involved the tragic loss of life, we are hoping that this arrest can give some closure to the friends and family.”
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